A new energy system is emerging. The Paris Agreement has sent a signal around the world: climate change is a serious issue that governments are determined to address. By 2070 there is the potential for a very different energy system to emerge.
The Sky Scenario outlines what we believe to be a technologically, industrially, and economically possible route forward, consistent with limiting the global average temperature rise to well below 2°C from pre-industrial levels. It reveals the potential for an energy system to emerge that brings modern energy to all in the world, without delivering a climate legacy that society cannot readily adapt to.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology have assessed the climate outcomes from the Sky scenario, using their Integrated Global System Modeling (IGSM) framework. They have published their work evaluating the climate impacts of Sky entitled “Meeting the Goals of the Paris Agreement: Temperature Implications of the Shell Sky Scenario”. The report’s summary highlights, “We find that for the median climate parameters the global surface temperature increase by 2100 is 1.75°C above the pre-industrial levels with an 85% probability of remaining below 2°C.”
Sky shows a transformation to a lower-carbon energy system, with the world achieving the temperature goal of the Paris Agreement. Consumers, companies and governments will face tough choices and the paths towards lower-carbon energy will vary by country and sector. Over the course of 50 years, it transforms the way society uses and produces energy.
But while encouraging news, success towards the Paris Agreement aim is not guaranteed. The Sky Scenario relies on a complex combination of mutually reinforcing actions by society, markets and governments. It recognises that the necessary changes will unfold at different paces in different places, and must ultimately transform all sectors of economic activity. The changes are economy-wide, sector-specific, and amount to re-wiring the global economy in just 50 years.